Do You Drink At Work?


April 23, 2012

Have you ever had a drink during work hours?  Do your colleagues drink at work?

I read an article recently called Why You Should Drink At Work.  Apparently, a study at the University of Illinois, Chicago recently proved that mildly intoxicated individuals (.07 blood alcohol level) are better at creative problem solving than sober counterparts.  It also found that the intoxicated individuals did not perform as well on math and word association tasks.  Researchers contend that the alcohol reduces the ability to pay attention and frees up creative thinking.

I’ve worked at several companies where moderate drinking during the workday was an acceptable practice.  In fact, early in my career, I was quickly told by several senior leaders in the company that if a leader ordered a drink during a business lunch and I did not, I would be considered rude.  There were definitely days when I ordered one then merely sipped it in order to be part of the group and fit in with leaders.  As I got older and more confident, I realized that I did not have to participate in order to remain respected in the group.  Today, I would not be swayed by someone in a role senior to me asking me to have a drink.

There are many companies that provide alcohol and as long as an employee is over 21, it is obviously legal to drink.  Here are four risks of drinking at work:

  • Your performance really can be negatively impacted.  You may not realize it but your decision-making processes will be slowed and you may arrive at answers or make decisions that you will regret later.
  • If you drive you’re risking the lives of others.  If caught, you are likely to lose your license and I’ve seen several employees over the years who have the hardship of having to find someone to drive them to work each day.
  • If you operate machinery at work, you can put yourself and your colleagues at risk.
  • You may be viewed by colleagues as someone who makes poor decisions.   They will lose trust and respect for you.
The loss to companies in the United States due to alcohol and drug-related abuse by employees totals $100 billion a year, according to the The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.  So, even if drinking alcohol may make you more creative in problem solving, the potential downside is too great.
Do you drink at work?  Do you think it is acceptable for employees to drink at work?



  • I’ve never worked for an organization where drinking during the workday was “OK” – even back in the waning days of the 3-martini-lunch. Personally, I don’t think it would work for me; if I had a drink at a business lunch I would need to take a nap all afternoon!

    • @Robin- I’m with you. One or two good drinks and I’d be sound asleep when 3pm rolled around! Thanks for the comment.

  • In an era of 24/7 connection to work, I’m fascinated by how people manage consumption of alcohol (or other sorts of recreational drugs, legal or not)? I can’t think of an hour of the day where I haven’t answered an email or taken a phone call. Should you wait to sober up before sending out an e-mail at 10pm? Should you take a call from your boss at 5am? On days when activity is planned outside of typical work hours, it’s easier but that doesn’t always happen. So besides just doing your job sober while at the office, what about doing work activities outside of the office?

    • @Lance- I think you raise some great questions. Technology definitely changes when people are able to work and I think we each just need to have a personal policy not to respond to work email or work on projects when drinking. There will probably be exceptions to this but hopefully they would be few. It reminds me of hearing a story several years ago about a town with a volunteer fire department. Where I live, there are many towns that have volunteers. One night, many of the guys went out to a bar together and tied one on. Several hours later they were called to a house fire and had to do their best to save it. They could not. I wonder if they were too drunk to do their job.

Comments are closed.

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 17.20.39

About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.





Play Video


Play Video

Related posts

3 Reasons To Reveal Your Vulnerabilities

As I sat onstage at UNLEASH World 2022 in Paris last week, I had an epiphany. I need to be […]

Read More

I Cried in the Grocery Store: A Story of Soup and Loneliness

I cried in the grocery store. No, it wasn’t over the outrageously high prices that we’re facing post-pandemic. It wasn’t […]

Read More

Partner with me


Get in touch today to find out more about how I can help your organization leverage HR and HCM technology to attract, onboard, retain and manage top talent.